Analysis of neck fractures from frontal collisions at low speeds

S. J. Park, S. W. Chae, E. S. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Neck fracture is a major cause of death in traffic accidents. This pattern of injury normally occurs in a frontal collision or overturn of a vehicle. This study investigates the case of a neck fracture from a low-speed collision. In the examined case, the passenger in the front seat of the car fractured his neck and died. He did not have his seatbelt on when the vehicle slipped on a frozen road surface on a downward slope of a hill and impacted into the shoulder of the road at low speed. In this type of collision, an occupant's body will be impacted by the windshield or other interior trim of the car. However, in this case, rather unusually, neither body tissue nor fiber remained although the collision involved a broken windshield. Thus, the reason for the passenger death was unidentified. This study applied the computer simulation package Madymo for analyzing the accident. The result of the simulation was that the passenger, who did not wear a seatbelt, moved forward due to inertia. The upper part of the passenger then rotated and lifted when the knee contacted with the dashboard. By evaluating the structural deformation of the vehicle at the front, we deduced that the collision velocity was 30 km/h. Through a computational experiment that was undertaken using Madymo 7.0, NIC was estimated to be 240 m2/s2. This result far exceeded the threshold for neck injuries. In particular, in comparison with whiplash injuries, when the passenger's head directly impacts the roof following a rear-end collision, the bending moment through hyperextension of the neck is greatly increased. In this study, we concluded that the manner of death was the hyperextension of the neck, as the passenger's head contacted the roof from underneath.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-445
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Automotive Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jun


  • Low speed
  • Madymo
  • Neck injury
  • Traffic accidents
  • Vehicle collision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of neck fractures from frontal collisions at low speeds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this